Good moisture levels have ensured a great start to Ausplow's R @ D trials program at its Quairading Research Centre this year.

Good moisture levels have ensured a great start to Ausplow's R @ D trials program at its Quairading Research Centre this year.

Trialling the hypothesis of near-row sowing is pivotal to Ausplow's BioFurrow crop establishment system.

Trialling the hypothesis of near-row sowing is pivotal to Ausplow's BioFurrow crop establishment system.

Ausplow is continuing its research and development trials at its Quairading research centre to validate its BioFurrow™ hypothesis.
A number of replicated trials established by near-row sowing aims to identify the best nutrient management for crop production aligned with the creation of the BioFurrow™ by the DBS.
Previous research trials have shown the BioFurrow™ is the ideal ‘pot plant’ to provide plants an optimum environment through the growing season.
Key to this environment is moisture and air which allows beneficial bacteria in the top soil to successfully interact with nutrients for the benefit of plants and the benefit of the soil, ie, building carbon to increase water-holding capacity.
While it won’t happen overnight, former CSIRO scientist and microbiologist Dr Margaret Roper, who is overseeing Ausplow’s R @ D trial program at Quairading, said the BioFurrow™ provided significant benefits for developing a seedling.
She makes the point that there between one and two tonnes a hectare of microbes in the top 10 centimetres, equating to more than 10 billion microbes in a kilogram of soil, with literally kilometres of fungal hyphae.
Fungal hyphae spread like a network to capture nutrients and in a highly complex symbiotic relationship, bacteria and fungi provide nutrients to plant roots while accessing food in the form of exudates from the roots.
This ‘food’ represents the building blocks of soil humus leading to an increase in organic carbon.
A classic visual of this process is the ‘dreadlock’ roots you find on healthy plants, with soil and microbes adhering to plant roots.
The concept of the BioFurrow™ is not new and is often referred to as near-row sowing, with implement steering guidance.
The difference with the BioFurrow™ is that the same row is used to seed crops every year rather than ‘nudging’ across the paddock to establish the next season’s rows.
Interestingly Dr Roper has been at the forefront of research into near-row sowing.
It started 25 years ago and she is confident the hypothesis of the BioFurrow™ is now at a stage to trial over a range of moisture and soil conditions, with DBS owners encouraged to do their own trials.
Dr Roper said the DBS sowing system, particularly, provided significant benefits for a developing seedling.
“Firstly, the provision of liquid nutrients directly below the seed provides a source of water vapour for seed germination,” Dr Roper said.
“The ‘precision seed bed’, created by the DBS closing tool to provide a firm and aerated base for the seed, contains fine capillaries through which water vapour (from the liquid nutrients) can rise to the seed and promote germination.
“Scientific research also has presented evidence that water vapour is the primary source of water for seed germination in unsaturated soils.
“This surprising result stems from the fact that although hydraulic conductivity decreases by several orders of magnitude as soil water content decreases, relative humidity within the soil remains near 100 per cent, as long as the soil water content is above wilting point.”
(Wilting point is the minimal point of soil moisture the plant requires not to wilt).
Dr Roper also said the provision of liquid nutrients directly below the seed provided an immediate source of nutrients in available forms in close proximity to newly emerged roots.
“And the soft-closing press wheel of the DBS covers the seed, creating a firm but not compacted indented surface which collects water and enables air exchange around the germinating seed,” Dr Roper said.

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Thursday, June 10, 2021